The ultimate guide to email deliverability

by | Tue 19 May, 20

How are email opens tracked?

To kick off, it’s good to understand how emails are tracked, and how this can affect your rep. You put time and effort into your email marketing campaigns, so it’s natural that you want to know exactly how well they’re doing. One way to track the success of a campaign is through the open rate.

What is the open rate?

The “open rate” of an email campaign is defined by the number of emails that are opened by the receiver. The open rate is calculated by dividing the number of “opens” by the number of emails sent (discounting any that have bounced) It sounds very simple, but it’s a bit more complicated than you’d think.

How are “opens” tracked?

Simply clicking on the email doesn’t necessarily count towards your open rate. In-built metric systems track the open rate by using tracking pixels embedded in the images of the email. So, if a user has images disabled, or the email takes so long to load after they open it that they close it again before the images have loaded, this won’t count towards your open rate.

Why are open rates important?

Measuring your open rate is an important task because if the customer or client doesn’t open the email, they can’t click on it or view the information you’re trying to send them. Some campaigns encourage users to click links that send them to your website, while some simply offer information. Neither of these important things can be achieved if the email isn’t opened. Having the email opened is the first hurdle to get through to ensure a good return on investment.

Improving your open rates

If you notice that you have low or decreasing open rates, there are some steps you can take to try and improve the efficacy of your future email campaigns and improve the open rates.

Firstly, try to ensure that you’re not sending too many emails too frequently, ‘spamming’ users can cause them to place your emails in junk folders or simply unsubscribe.

You should also ensure that your images aren’t too big and that the email isn’t comprised entirely of images. Images that aren’t compressed take too long to load and emails that contain just images are more likely to be sent to the junk folder automatically.

What is a high email bounce rate?

When working with email marketing campaigns, there are many statistics that can be analysed to determine the success of your campaign. These will provide good insight into engagement levels, showing you what works well and the things which might need changing in future to get the best value for money.

One of these statistics is your email bounce rate. This tells you if any of your emails have not been successfully delivered to the recipient, so ideally you want this number to be as low as possible. Bounce-backs can happen for a variety of reasons, some of which you will be able to rectify, but others may be beyond your control.

For a long-term, successful email marketing strategy, it’s important to understand your bounce rate and make amendments where possible, to ensure the maximum number of people are receiving – and hopefully reading – your emails.

What is a high bounce rate?

Generally speaking, a good bounce rate is anything below 2%. Unless your marketing list is particularly small, or you know the people on it personally, it’s unlikely you’ll get a 100% delivery success rate. While the benchmark bounce rate varies by industry and is dependant on the demographics of your marketing list, anything above 2% is worthy of your attention.

Hard and soft bounces

The bounce rate can be split into hard and soft bounces. Hard bounces are those which are permanent delivery failures, so for example, if the recipient has changed jobs and their email account is no longer active. This is not uncommon if your marketing list contains a lot of business email addresses.

Soft bounces are temporary delivery failures, which can occur for a number of reasons. It may be that the recipient’s inbox is full, or the server has identified your email as being too large. Soft bounces will typically attempt to deliver five times before being converted into a hard bounce, which is why you may not receive the failure notification for several days.

What can I do to improve my bounce rate?

There are a few simple ways you can address a high bounce rate quickly, including regularly keeping on top of your marketing lists and ensuring lists are created with opt-in permission of each recipient. Also, make sure not to use a free domain email, such as Hotmail or Gmail, when you’re sending your marketing email, as many servers will automatically reject these.

How can I reduce my email campaign bounce rate?

Your email campaign bounce rate is a clear indicator of the success of your campaign – a high bounce rate means a large proportion of recipients have neither read, nor interacted with, your promotional email. Email marketing services of all kinds are constantly looking for ways to keep their bounce rate low.

As a specialist email marketing agency, we have got three simple suggestions to do just that.

Tailor your campaign

Blanket email marketing campaigns rarely encourage a high rate of engagement. Think of yourself – do you engage with marketing emails that you have no real interest in? The answer is probably no, and so neither will your recipients! This means you have to clearly target your intended market with each mailshot you send out. Whether it’s for a particular product, service or promotion, identify those in your mailing list who are most likely to engage with your email and make them your primary recipients.

Write a clear, concise email

The key thing to remember when you’re composing an email is that the reader’s time is at a premium. Most people read their emails a dozen or so at a time at various points in the day, which means you need to make sure you grab the reader’s attention. If they can’t understand the point of your email in a simple glance lasting a few seconds, the odds become high that they’re simply going to delete it without reading any further. You need a clear headline, concise copy, and a good call to action if you want engagement.

Learn a new lesson every time

Each mailshot you send out is an opportunity for you to learn – even if the campaign wasn’t very successful and had a high bounce rate, it’s not a total failure. This is because it presents you with a valuable opportunity to learn clear lessons you can take into future campaigns. Take the chance to learn what people responded to and what they didn’t, what you can improve, clarify, and how you can streamline your emails. Continual improvement is essential for lowering your email campaign’s bounce rate.

To find out more about reducing your email bounce rates, contact us at MailNinja today

How to avoid the spam folder in 4 easy steps

If you’re in the email marketing business, there are a lot of things that you must consider to ensure that your emails don’t end up in spam. Take, for instance, spam traps, anti-spam laws, and spam trigger words that can harm your email deliverability significantly.

Email marketing services and agencies must now consider factors such as ISPs and anti-spam regulations that are currently waging war against spammers. Though this is a relief for many consumers, it’s not the best news for the email marketing agency.

Unfortunately, not all victims are always spammers. By bad luck, sometimes even legitimate emails end up in spam folders as collateral damage.

Luckily, you can now do something about it and avoid your emails ending up in spam folders.

1. Know your customers

This is perhaps the best route to take before you begin sending emails to your consumers. Consumers have been known to mark messages as spam even when they know the sender. Worse yet, when they gave consent for the sender to email them.

This is a big game-changer, as even sending promotional messages only to your subscribers no longer makes you immune to the spam folder.

2. Use a reliable email service provider

The ESP that you use also determines the overall reputation of the emails that you send. ESPs that send out relevant and valuable content and have high IP address scores are labelled as trustworthy and are least likely to be marked as spam.

Reputable ESPs usually block messages from disreputable IP addresses, which can make your email marketing campaign a lot harder.

3. Limit your sending frequency

Although your consumers agreed that you send them promotional emails, they never meant that you stuff their inboxes with several annoying messages.

The truth is that no one wants to hear from you throughout the day. So, try and moderate the number of emails that you send. Don’t push your recipients to mark your emails as spam.

4. Never buy email lists

Several things can go wrong when using an email list from another business. For one, there is the legal issue of violation of ISP terms of service. You will also be violating your recipients’ privacy since they never subscribed to your email list.

There is a good chance that your ‘bought clients’ will block you almost instantly.

Wrapping up

Focusing on your email marketing campaign is only half of the process. You must also strive to ensure that your sent content doesn’t end up in your recipients’ spam folder. The tips mentioned above should help you minimise and possibly avoid getting marked as spam. Eventually, this leads to higher conversions for the business.

How to avoid email blacklists

Email marketing services offer some of the best conversion rates of any digital marketing channel – but to reap the rewards you have to make it to the inbox first.

Spam filters and firewalls do a great job of protecting us from hackers and trojan emails but they could also be filtering out your marketing emails. And, if you do make it to the inbox, you’re still at risk of being flagged by a user if they don’t like what they see. So, how do you avoid being blacklisted and ensure ROI from your e-marketing? Follow these tips to dodge the dreaded spam folder.

Don’t attach, link

Whether it’s a newsletter or a sales email, attachments are likely to trigger spam filters if from an unknown email address. If you have imagery, videos or files you want to share, use a well-known filesharing service such as WeTransfer or Google Drive to share your data. That way, users know they can trust the link and you can still share the rich content you want to.

Keep it regular, but not too regular

Newsletters are a great way of communicating with prospective or current customers but there can be too much of a good thing. Avoid sending out too many updates – remember, every other company is doing the same and it can be overwhelming. A monthly update for a B2B brand, for example, should be enough to maintain a conversation with your clients. Whatever you do, don’t email for the sake of it.

Offer value

If your e-shot is just filling space, consumers will cotton on pretty fast. Make sure you’re offering value if you want to keep subscribers. That could mean deals and offers for loyal customers or simply sharing blogs and insights from within your team. What works will differ for every business – so experimentation is key.

Use A/B testing

The most important part of any successful e-marketing campaign is testing. Tools like Mailchimp enable you to test different messages, layouts and content so you can monitor and evaluate campaigns and see what’s working best. Can’t seem to find the time in the day? An email marketing agency can take care of all the hard work and offer you insights focused on what’s important – ROI.

Offer your customers, clients and followers a quality experience in your e-marketing campaign and you should naturally avoid being blocked, blacklisted or filtered out. Be smart, and you could see the channel become a key driver of revenue and growth.

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